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UK’s PM warns ‘barbaric’ Russia over Ukraine chemical arms

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Thursday the “barbaric” Russian regime was indulging in a tried-and-tested ruse as it lays the ground for the possible use of chemical weapons in Ukraine.

“The stuff which you are hearing about chemical weapons is straight out of the Russian playbook,” he told Sky News, echoing US warnings that President Vladimir Putin could be set on a horrifying escalation.

“They start saying that there are chemical weapons that are being stored by their opponents or by the Americans, so that when they themselves deploy chemical weapons — as I fear they may — they have a fake story ready to go,” Johnson said.

“You have seen it in Syria, you saw it even in the UK. It is a cynical, barbaric government I’m afraid.”

Britain blames Putin’s secret agents for a 2018 attack in the city of Salisbury that used the nerve agent Novichok against a former Russian double agent. A British woman died weeks later.

Both Washington and Kyiv have denied the existence of laboratories intended to produce biological weapons in Ukraine, which has faced an assault by tens of thousands of Russian troops since February 24.

“Russia is inventing false pretexts in an attempt to justify its own horrific actions in Ukraine,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price said Wednesday.

The West has already accused Putin’s forces of war crimes in Ukraine including the bombing of a maternity hospital in the port of Mariupol.


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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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